William Parsons & Guy Hayward

Founders of The British Pilgrimage Trust

Singing Along to Honour a Wholesome Place

From his BA Dissertation on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, to his MA in the History of Propaganda, William Parsons’ often seemingly pointless education was in fact a uniquely fitting preparation for the challenges of reviving British pilgrimage. After university, Parsons spent a decade walking around Britain, singing traditional British songs. This wandering minstrel phase was the prelude to the founding of the British Pilgrimage Trust (BPT), promoting open/non-faith pilgrimage routes throughout Britain.

Co-founder of the BPT is Guy Hayward who holds a PhD on the psychology/anthropology of communal singing around the world. A relative newcomer to the pilgrimage scene three years ago, Hayward saw the potential of this movement and what it could do for people, inspired by what it had given him like nothing had before — a feeling of belonging in his own country. Pilgrimage also got him more in touch with the nature around him, as well as his own nature.

Together Parsons and Hayward lead guided pilgrimages, give talks and concerts all over Britain (and increasingly Europe). The two also are regular contributors to British television.

Pilgrimage, History, British Songs, Nature, Netherlands PINC.19